JLT-Condor’s Tom Moses has fought off illness in time for the defence of his 100 per cent record at the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic on Sunday – and he hopes a relative lack of racing in recent weeks will help his chances.
The 22-year-old soloed to beat current Madison-Genesis duo Tom Scully and Mark McNally in his sole start in the event 12 months ago.
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However, he has barely competed since falling ill at March’s Tour of Normandy.
“I got ill ithere on the first stage when it was really cold and wet, so it’s taken a while to get back from that,” he said.
“I was going to ride in [the Tour of] Loire et Cher last week but John [Herety, team manager] told me to make sure I’d fully recovered. I think I’m OK now though, and a few of the other riders have been ill too, but I think it’ll work out good for the team in the long run.
“We should be a little bit fresher than some other squads coming into the next few races.”
Early forecasts for the event, Britain’s longest-standing UCI-ranked one-day race, suggested inclement weather. However, conditions are likely to be more like they were 12 months ago, when Moses tamed the race’s famed off-road sectors under overcast skies.
He added: “I think I’d prefer it to be a bit grim, to be honest. It would make the race more selective – it would settle down after the first few sectors, which makes it less stressful.
“The sectors don’t make so much different if it’s dry: it’s actually a much hillier race than it seems, which is a big factor. I don’t think people really notice that until they’ve ridden it.
“The hills kill people off more than the sectors in the dry – if it’s wet, the sectors become a lot tougher.”
If Moses cannot repeat his victory from last year on Sunday in Melton Mowbray, he could still go away with a much-coveted prize: Grainstore Brewery of Oakham is offering the first rider under the archway on the second passage of the race’s Owston loop their weight in beer.
Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic
When: Sunday April 26
Distance: 179km (112m)
Start: Market Square, Oakham,11am
Finish: Sherrard Street, Melton Mowbray, 3.35pm